April 29, 2020

Hired: 3 Tips to Book a Travel Nurse Job During COVID-19

travel nurse covid unit

3 Things Every Nurse Can Do Right Now to Book Their Next Travel RN Assignment

Whether you’re recovering from a canceled assignment or waiting for jobs in your specialty to open up, it seems like the travel nurse industry is a whirlwind of uncertainty. But rest assured, we will find a new normal. Elective surgeries will return, and OR, PACU, and scrub techs will find work. Whether you’re ICU, ER, or OR, we have 3 travel nurse tips you can start working on today, so when jobs open, you’ll be ready to submit.

healthcare workers covid

1. Be Flexible

When ORs open and hospital census picks up, we expect a flood of nurses to apply to the same jobs. Whether it’s a crisis assignment or not, a nurse’s flexibility will be a determining factor. Every nurse — perm staff or traveler — had their world flipped upside down by COVID. And that means everyone needs a vacation. 

travel nurse covid unit

  • Shifts: Be willing to take days, nights, or rotating schedules. Offer to take a less-than-desirable shift. It may not be ideal, but it shows the charge nurse that you’re a team player.
  • Requests: Remember, travel nurses are hired to fill staffing shortages. The facility, and charge nurse, will give priority to perm staff. Make it easy for the hiring manager by limiting time-off requests.
  • Location: Be open to different locations. Maybe summer in the South isn’t on your vision board, but broadening your net will improve your chances of getting an offer.

2. Be Proactive

Speed is the name of the game in travel nursing, even more so now. The first qualified nurse who submits and is interviewed will get the job. It’s not about finding the very best candidate. Working with your recruiter now will allow them to quickly submit your profile to a facility as soon as a job opens.

travel nurse updating resume

  • Resume: Ensure your resume is ready to go. Ask your recruiter if there’s anything you can do to improve your profile. When was the last time you updated your skills checklist? Now is a great time to look at certifications, especially with coronavirus discount codes.
  • References: Do you need to update your references? Are your references reflective of your travel career, or all they all from your time as perm staff? Have you worked on a different floor/facility that you could update your strengths against? If so, reach out to the appropriate charge nurses and ask for a reference.
  • Requirements: From shot records to tax-home status, ensure you’re ready to hit the road. Ask what requirements you may need in the coming months. Is your license due for renewal? Do you need to complete any CEUs? 

3. Take Control

While we believe our recruiters are superstars, you must take ownership of your career. Do your research now on locations, trends, and facilities. At TNAA, we never blind submit; when a job opens, your recruiter will need the go-ahead from you. Needing to look up hospital info or stats can mean time lost. In addition to researching the facility, here are a few other things you can get in order.

travel nurse budget

  • Be Ready: Make sure the interviewer and your recruiter can connect with you. When interviewing travel nurses, the interviewer will call through a list of qualified profiles. If you don’t answer and the next nurse does, there’s a good chance you could miss the opportunity.
  • Budget: Be sure your budget is ready for the unexpected. While we see some surgical jobs starting to return, there’s no guarantee. Are you financially prepared for an assignment cancellation? 
  • Benefits: Familiarize yourself with our offerings. Will you want Low Census Protection  to ensure a consistent paycheck despite call-offs? Have you thought about adding accident insurance?

Wait, you do know about Low Census Protection™, right? You can read about it here. Plus, here you can read about accident insurance and how 1 nurse used it when an accidental injury prevented her from completing her contract.

A Travel Nurse’s Tips on How to Bounce Back

In a few short months, Laura accepted a new contract, was canceled, and accepted another new contract. But despite the whiplash, Laura knows this isn’t permanent. In fact, she wants to share a roadmap for getting rebooked and back on the unit.

pacu travel nurse

In my 5 years as a travel nurse, I’ve never had a bad assignment. Not many nurses can say that, but I can! I’m not special; I just go in with the right mindset. I’m there to do a job, to help, and to encourage permanent staff. I’m ready to float when needed and be a source of positivity.

I never tell staff how to do things, or how things were done at other hospitals. I try to encourage them and let them know that hospitals all over deal with the same issues. And then, if they ask for input, I let them know — but I always keep it positive. 

You usually know within the first few shifts if it’s somewhere you’d want to return to; that’s why I always give my card to the charge nurse within a few weeks. I tell them if they ever need me to contact my agency. It’s all about building connections and relationships.

Bonus: #TNAAcares is a celebration of healthcare heroes! In fact, you can read more about Laura, and all medical workers, here.